When taking on a morning hike you might be tempted to pack everything but the kitchen sink as you prepare to conquer the day. Why overpack when you can find a few small item which will make a much larger impact on your daypack and bring quality to your adventures?
Let's face it, one of the most important things we can focus on when adventuring is how to integrate our lives and needs together in a single pack which can take us to our destination. By streamlining our gear and focusing on our real needs and wants we can conquer anything from the most simple of hike to the most challenging.
Waking up for an early morning hike, depending on the climate and location, a few basic items can make all the difference. When solo hiking or hiking in pairs or groups you can mix and match these items to suit your every need.
Who doesn't like a good pick me up in the morning? Starting your day with a good cup of coffee might just be the perfect way to take in a sunrise vista or to warm you up along a brisk hike. But making that happen isn’t always the most simplistic and wading through the options can be a bit discouraging as finding your flavor can be a bit difficult.
Alpine Start makes having that morning break easy with their portion sized instant coffee packets. With individual servings, your day pack will not be heavy or cumbersome and you can easily bring along enough for both you and a friend without worrying about adding additional weight to your bag.
But how can you expect to have coffee without a way to make it?
Coleman provides a single burner camp stove and small propane ideal for any hike. The canisters are lightweight and provide up to 3 hours of continued usage. Stove controls allow you to select your flame height and intensity and can be easily ignited with matches or a lighter safely.
In addition to their options for camping stoves, Coleman provides a variety of camping vessels which can accommodate your needs for preparing and serving. For a hike for two I would suggest a medium sized pot with expanding handle to allow for safety in pouring items. Created from light weight aluminum the footprint in your bag will be larger but will not be much in way of weight. For single hikes single cup options are also available and can work as a serving vessel in substitute for individual cups.
Bar none, one of my favorite cups I have found as of late has been the Klean Kanteen retailed through Roanline. These cups are perfect for many reasons for the average hiker. They are stackable which limits space in your day pack, a huge bonus when attempting to streamline your baggage. But perhaps one of the more exciting options which come with this item is their adaptability. Though they are sold without a lid, you will find that most lids will universally fit this item so you can convert it easily from a single usage cup to one you keep in your pocket for the duration.
Alpine Start Original Blend 8 Pack $8.99
Roanline Klean Kanteen Steel Cup $7.95 Steel Pint $9.95
Coleman Peak 1 Stove $11.86
Coleman Performance Gas $4.95
REI introduces the basic essentials to your gear for any hike as they span many brands and bring many options to the very day adventurer. But for a morning hike to limit the overwhelming sense of selection I suggest looking for two items. Socks and beanies or hats.
During the earlier hours of hiking temperatures have not yet started to climb, studies point to your leading source of body heat loss coming from your head so it is very important during these hours to make sure you are keeping this area covered until you allow your body temperatures to warm.
REI provides a selection of winter headwear which can cater to any hiker and conditions. For myself I find that the basic Lightweight Logo Beanie is perfect for most conditions I hike in. Not only is it thick enough to insulate my head but it also is small enough to stow away after I warm up should my hike carry into the warmer time of day.
In addition to keeping your head warm, you will want to focus on keeping your feet warm and dry. A lot of times I lean toward wool socks, however I recently found the WrightSock Double Layer Cool Mesh II Socks which are a good alternative. Designed to prevent slipping and blistering these keep your feet cozy but also serve a much larger purpose when paired with a good hiking boot.
REI Wrightsock Double Layer Cool Mesh II Socks $10
REI Lightweight Logo Beanie $14.95
Safety is paramount when hiking solo or in groups and I always encourage people to make sure they have at least one safety based item in their pack. In a world of cell phones we take for granted that sometimes there simply isn't signal to communicate. This created a need for me to search for an alternative for communicating with others in my party when traveling or being able to provide basic safety for myself when alone. I found that Midland USA provides a series of 2 Way Radios which are a perfect fit for the day pack or hiking pack.
Radios can be an important part of your hike when traveling with a companion. With up to 20 miles or travel radius, you and your fellow traveler can communicate about trail conditions, turns in the path and alternatives to navigating. Should someone get lost or injured there is a way to allow another person to know when traveling together.
When traveling solo however, these devices can also hold a very important place on your pack. I have personally found that when solo traveling the NOAA Weather and Safety Siren features have been very useful in giving me a heads up when conditions are taking a turn for the worst or when needing to make a loud noise to scare off small animals.
With an easy travel clip and long battery life these items are perfect for pretty much any hike and not limited to an early morning hike. I would suggest making this a item a go to on any outing.
Midland USA GXT1030VP4 2 Way Radio $89.99
When trying to reach deep within on those longer hikes we might be lacking some of the will power to get us there. With early hikes especially we might not have had our full caloric intake we need to face the return hike without a little pick me up snack.
Honey Stinger provides just that for our day pack, bringing alternatives in energy supplementation, nutrition and protein packed snacks for those leading an active lifestyle. Small to stow and lightweight these small items pack one of the biggest punches of all the items in your travel bag.
When I was introduced to Honey Stinger initially I discovered their Organic Waffles, a small item which takes up a very small footprint in my hiking pack but really amped up my energy through the usage of Honey for natural energy enhancement. The small wafer provided a great infusion of carbs perfect for a pick me up along a long hike. The accessibility to finding these was pretty simple as they are carried at most sporting goods stores for about $2 a piece.
It was in one of those stores where I actually was introduced to the sheer variety of items which Honey Stinger provides including energy and protein bars, energy gels and chews, snack bars and even honey itself.
This brand truly embodies the nutrition, energy and concerns of someone who is hiking or camping and is a must have in a day pack or an overnight pack alike.
Honey Stinger. Organic Waffles $22.94 (Box of 16)
Honey Stinger Energy Chews. $28.68. (Box of 12)
Honey Stinger Energy Bars $27.75 (Box of 15)
Honey Stinger Protein Bars $37.50 (Box of 15)
Finding water suitable for drinking when traveling is something of a mystery at times. While our ancestors
would drink from cool springs and rivers, we now fear doing the same because of heavy metals, minerals, waste and other contaminants. However Sawyer is making water once again more accessible for us as they have created a must have for your travel backpack, MicroSqueeze Water Filtration System.
With the ability to filter up to 100,000 gallons of water this item is the item which keeps on giving in your pack. On longer hikes where it is unreasonable to carry water for days on end being able to filter water for storage is a must and the MicroSqueeze can do just that.
Adaptable to the contained pouch, standard water bottles or even your pack bladder you can use this to provide water from any source you might find in nature or simply by filtering water straight from a tap.
Unlike the straw filters where you must drink directly from the source, you can pack your water away for the remainder of your hike and refuel your supplies with ease for fresh tasting refreshment. No wonder their tag line is "We Keep Your Outdoors". With an item like this you never have to go inside for water again!
Sawyer MicroSqueeze Water Filtration System $28.99